The Bantam A Mustangs may be getting a little too good for Tier 3.
The Whitehorse rep team went undefeated to win gold at the Summerland Bantam Rep Winter Classic, a Tier 3 tournament last weekend in Summerland, B.C.
In fact, the Mustangs cruised to victory with a 5-0 win over the Penticton Vees in the finals.
“It was a good tournament for the boys in terms of preparing for the B.C. provincials, winning the tournament and getting that confidence,” said Mustangs head coach Barry Blisner. “But the competition was not as good as we hoped.
“It was a Tier 3 tournament, which is supposed to be our level.”
Finding the back of the net for the Mustangs in the final were forwards Levi Johnson, Kole Comin, Alex Hanson, Karter Kazakoff and captain Dylan McQuaig.
McQuaig also produced two assists, as did defenceman Jack Blisner. Goalie Josh Tetlichi got the shutout for Whitehorse.
“We got two quick goals in the second period and that opened it up for the rest of the game,” said coach Blisner.
The Mustangs won their four-team pool to reach the final. In the three-game round-robin, the team produced two wins – both blowouts – and a tie.
Whitehorse opened the tournament with a 9-3 win over West Kelowna. Doing the most damage was Kazakoff with four goals while McQuaig had two.
Then came the one blemish on their tournament performance. The Mustangs tied South Delta 7-7, dropping a 6-3 lead and falling behind 7-6 in the third period. However, with a little over a minute left, Comin scored his third goal of the game for the tie. Forward Malachi La Vallee also scored twice.
“That game was a penalty affair for us – we got a little carried away,” said coach Blisner. “It might have cost us first place (in our pool and a spot in the final) so it was a pretty big goal,” he added, referring to Comin’s tying goal.
Whitehorse then creamed Kamloops 13-1 to secure a trip to the finals. In the game Comin had another hat trick, Hanson put in two goals and forward Nick Dobush helped out with two assists.
At their first tournament of the year, the Olds Grizzlys Bantam AA Invitational in Olds, Alberta, with just one game behind them at that point in October, the Mustangs won two games to finish eighth out of 11 teams.
In the following tournament, the Kelowna Minor Hockey Tournament at the start of December, the Mustangs reached the semifinal to tie for third.
The Bantam A Mustangs were hoping to get another tournament in before the Arctic Winter Games and the B.C. provincials, but it’s slim-pickings at that time of the season.
“We’re at a bit of a disadvantage up here because most of the (B.C.) teams are going to provincial playdowns in February, which we don’t have because there’s only one rep team from the territory,” said coach Blisner. “So a lot of the other teams don’t hold tournaments because they are doing that.”
Many of the Mustangs will be on Team Yukon’s bantam hockey team at the Arctic Winter Games this March in Whitehorse. Final team selections for the Games have not taken place.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org